Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals: Five Things to Watch For

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Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears head coach John Fox during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

How Will the Bears Stack Up in the Most Meaningful Preseason Game?

Apologies for the vague question, but this game is the actual test for the Bears, so we need an overarching theme.

The Bears have new systems on both sides of the ball. We’ve seen minimal samples so far; a series or two each against Miami, a little more against the Colts. Aside from some limited positional evaluations, we really haven’t had much to evaluate so far about the 2015 Chicago Bears. We need more.

This game provides the best measuring stick against other competition in the preseason. Starters will likely play the first half, maybe a little more. They’re playing a good, but not great, opponent who has made the playoffs the past four years. How will the Bears stack up?

I don’t care much if they win this preseason game. I’m more curious to see how competitive they look in the closest thing to meaningful football in the preseason. I think this game, more than anything, will tell us what type of team we can expect this season, even with all the injuries at wide receiver.

Aug 22, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (L) looses his helmet during a play at the goal line against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.the play was later called for a foul and called back. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The defense, for the most part, is healthy. Can they handle a balanced offense that has two running threats in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, an experienced quarterback in Andy Dalton, a solid tight end in Tyler Eifert and an all-universe wide receiver in AJ Green? Many teams the Bears play this year have weapons at different positions like the Bengals do; Green Bay, Detroit, Minnesota, Denver, Seattle and others are all on the Bears’ menu and all have threats at different positions. This is a great measuring stick for the defense.

For the offense, here’s a question they’ll most likely be facing at the start of the season: With all the injuries in the passing game, can they run the ball consistently when the other teams are expecting it? Can they play a solid defense like Cincinnati without turning the ball over, as they couldn’t do last year?

This game will help us answer all those questions, and let us know exactly what type of Chicago Bears team we’ll suffer with in 2015.

Next: Five Questions with Strype Hype

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